15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Phonological Features of Speech Segments are Reflected in the Auditory Evoked Brain Response Around 100ms Post Stimulus Onset

Jonas Obleser, Carsten Eulitz, Henning Reetz, Aditi Lahiri

University of Konstanz, Germany

Two studies were conducted to elucidate the influence of phonological properties of speech segments on their cortical representation. The aim was to show that timing and mapping of the N100m brain response elicited by natural speech reflect the detection of phonological features. Auditory evoked fields were recorded while subjects performed target token detection tasks. In the first study using natural German vowels and in a consecutive study using voiced CV-syllables, the processing of place of articulation was the main focus. Results of both experiments suggest that timing and topography of the cortical N100m response reflect properties of speech stimuli that correspond to abstract phonological features. Mutually exclusive places of articulation such as CORONAL and DORSAL are reflected in separate cortical centers of gravity in the auditory cortex. This holds true when vowels are perceived in isolation as well as when they are preceded by voiced stop consonants. N100m peak latency delivers additional and complementary insight in the dynamics of speech segment processing in the human brain.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Obleser, Jonas / Eulitz, Carsten / Reetz, Henning / Lahiri, Aditi (2003): "Phonological features of speech segments are reflected in the auditory evoked brain response around 100ms post stimulus onset", In ICPhS-15, 1643-1646.